Thursday, 16 July 2020

Infamy Infamy, it all went horribly, horribly wrong.

Hello again, it's time for another random update. 

Last post I talked about the new ruleset from the Too Fat Lardies. My plan is still going ahead, although I am unsure which figures to get for my Caesarian Roman force. Warlord's plastic figures are cheap, but the two different boxes are not so different with the same figures and different weapons, while Wargames  Foundry are a bit to pricey due to the current financial state. So, decisions are still to be made on that part. I have started rebasing my existing Ancient Britons, which will suffice for that force, but I really want to do a Gallic force. Sadly I missed the boat and now the Victrix Gauls are about as common as hen's teeth. Apparently a vast mountain of plastic was delivered to a suspect family in Wiltshire. 😉

Anyway, we have played a couple of games now, using the extended furlough to game in Andy's back garden and keeping a safe distance. Not that safe as Pingu can throw his dice a fair way when they upset him, but fairly safe. Anyway, we played the first game and things went badly for the Romans. Lets just say that Panjo was not prepared for the ambushes and completely forgot about his drill. Apparently the dice gods hate him and the card gods loath him too, so he took a hell of a beating. 

We had to take a few liberties with troops as we didn't have anything based correctly, but we made do. We were also very lacking in Roman archers, so some Gondorians were drafted in. Anyway. it all started out well for Pingu and the Romans. The Legionaries advanced from the village with archers on their right and skirmishing auxiliaries off to the left. A few slingers appeared ahead of them, but they were few and far away. 

Initial troops appear

After a few volleys of sling stones though, the Roman attitude changed. Two legionaries lay dead and Centurion Curious Odus was not happy about it. He ordered Felonius, leader of the auxiliary infantry, to push ahead a clear the slingers from the far side of the river. Whilst one group was well up for this moving ahead and getting into javelin range, the other group decided to stay far back and see how things went. So, only 8 javelins were loosed needing 5 or 6 to hit. Two or three would be an average result.
So the dice gods hate you do they Pingu?
Pingu got seven hits! Hated by the dice gods my a**e, that was a phenomenal first roll for the Romans. Maybe today was to be their day after all. So Andy gathered up seven dice and rolled them, expecting to lose several men. The dice gods quite liked Andy as well though as he only lost 1 man and got 2 points of shock.

Curious Odus was incensed, how dare those smelly barbarians not die from good Roman(ish) javelins. So he seized the initiative and pushed on with the Legionaries. A quick order and pilums were loosed at the other slingers in the wood. Now we made a bit of a mistake here and rolled a few too many dice, it should have been 12 dice not 14, but the gods smiled on Pingu again as he got 12 hits. "That'll show 'em" Odus yelled. 

50% hits on average, Pingu gets 85%

The leader of these Slingers, known far and wide as Nigel, picked up his 12 dice. Luckily they were in cover, so only 6's would kill while 3 to 5 would cause shock.
Oh dear, that's a lot of dead Britons
It did not go well with 5 slingers falling skewered by pilums, including Nigel. The sole survivor promptly legged it, suddenly remembering he had to visit his mum. Meanwhile the Roman archers pushed up and to the left a bit, forgetting that the woods were potentially full of hairy barbarians.

The Britons chieftain, Aedan Know, seized his chance and unleashed his cavalry. Admittedly they are skirmish cavalry and, again, we got some rules wrong. In hindsight the archers would have been better off standing and fighting but instead they evaded. They evaded very poorly, running a grand total of 4". The end result of that can be seen in the picture below.
Nobody likes to be taken from the rear by a horse!
The result after two rounds of fighting was a lot of dead archers and 8 shock. This broke them and they ran away screaming something about "Orcs not having horses". Anyway, they out distanced the donkey wallopers and thought "Phew, we may survive this". However, Aedan wasn't finished with them yet. They had strayed within 12" of another unscouted wood, this one was full of Noble warriors led by Drest Nicely, who promptly leapt out and shouted BOO!
I couldn't bring myself to take any more pictures (alright, I forgot to), but unsurprisingly all the archers died. The struggle went from bad to worse for the Romans from there, with the Legion then being ambushed by the remaining 4 groups of warriors. But not until the support rank had been detached under Optio Superflous to face off the noble warriors. It went badly for the Romans, very badly and the majority of the Legion died. 

Things we learnt were 
  • Romans need to scout the ambush points if they can, buy Exploratores and cavalry!
  • Romans need to close up ranks as they get close to unscouted ambush points
  • Big mobs of Barbarian warriors are very nasty in the first round or two of combat
  • Gondorian archers have no place in a Romans vs Britons game
Anyway, it was fun and a good way to spend a sunny Wednesday afternoon in June. My thanks to Andy for hosting, feeding and watering us and to Pingu for losing so competently.

Who knows there may be another write up soon. Maybe. I will leave you with this picture, a purple bearded Pingu!

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

New rules, yet another project and problems with Fv432s

Hello again folks, I'm back again with another rambling post.

First thing is to point out that Too Fat Lardies have a new set of rules covering skirmish actions in the Roman period. Infamy, Infamy looks like it will be a lot of fun to play and doesn't require masses of figures like most ancient rules do. Have a look at the videos on YouTube to see what size the typical forces are. I'm looking forward to it arriving and, hopefully, the lift on the Covid rules so I can play it.

This leads to an obvious new project, Romans and Barbarians for this set of rules. I have a few Ancient British troops already, but they are based on 40mm squares and don't really work for a warband skirmish. One problem is that I like to have both sides for games so that I can run games for friends who don't have forces for it. So what to get. I am waiting for the rules to turn up before I decide what to buy, but initial thoughts are Ceasarian Romans and Gallic types. So that's going to take up my money for this year I think. Also this is subject to me being able to see well enough to paint the damn things at some point soon. 

Finally for this ramble it's back to the Cold War project. I was up late as I couldn't sleep again, this can prove to be a bad thing and it was for me on this occasion. In a moment of weakness at 3am I was browsing and came across an online store that had Team Yankee Fv432s and British infantry in stock. A couple of minutes later and I had ordered said Fv432s and infantry. My willpower at 3am is obviously weak. Anyway, they duly arrived and were opened up. The infantry are fine and match up with my existing Armies Army infantry nicely. The Fv432s though are another story. Now, if I had been looking at ordering these at a normal time of day I would have done a search for a comparison of the two, but at 3am this doesn't spring to the front of the queue. Once I had them though I thought they looked a bit small. So I did a search and lo and behold, a review pointing out the size difference is out there. Arse! So the Team Yankee model is smaller than the Armies Army one, noticeably so. Also it doesn't have the option of a peak turret, although it does have the options for a Swingfire armed Fv438. So now I have 5 Fv432's that are smaller than the 5 existing Fv432's I have. I am now going to have to decide if I want to keep them or wait and hope that Scotia Grendel are going to release the Armies Army models at some point. 

Ah well, decisions for another day as I am off to drop presents for one of the grand kids birthday. Adios for now folks, stay safe and keep gaming

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Wargaming via WhatsApp and tiny little tanks

Hello again. I have managed to get a wargame in, although it was on my phone rather than in person. My mate Nathan , aka Stumpy, set up a 28mm Napoleonic game using the newly released Vitoria scenario book for General d'Armee.

Nathan just about managed to put together enough figures to play the game........just kidding, he's got so many Napoleonic figures he can probably redo Waterloo on his own.  I had the Allied force while he took his French out. I won't go into any detail as part 1 is on his blog and part 2 will be up soon, hopefully. It was very enjoyable, even if it did break Nathan with all his running about moving everything for both sides. It took 3 sessions to finish as the poor old fella was having to do everything except roll my dice for me. The scenario is interesting, with the Allies attacking a nearly equal sized force but having better, potentially, command.

My force was 11 regiments strong, including 4 veterans and only 1 reservists, with 1 battery and 14 bases of skirmishers. Of these 1 brigade of 3 regiments was in reserve until turn 5.. The French also had 11 regiments, only 1 veteran and 4 reservists. They also had 1 battery and 12 skirmishers, but the 4 reservists were all in reserve until Nathan had an adverse result on a Brigade morale roll. The game is also limited to 10 turns, so the Allies have to press on and get in there quickly. So please pop over to Nathans blog and have a look, it was a good battle and it might make him hurry up and post the final part of the battle. A final big shout out to the 8th Cacadores, they gave his French one hell of a beating!

In other news I have put some paint on some lead. It was a struggle, painting them in 10 minute slots every couple of hours to try and prevent the headaches, but they are done. Huge they are, massive even! Yes, I painted up some of my long unpainted 6mm Cold War vehicles for future games of Battlegroup Northag or the Cold War variant of IABSM. Over 100 vehicles, a mix of British, American and French, plus some generic infantry.
Bradleys, some Infantry and mixed British vehicles
 First up is 15 Bradleys, 2 Sultans, 1 Spartan, 1 Fv432, 2 Land Rovers and 20 bases of infantry.
Warriors and Fv432s
 Then 20 Warriors and 24 Fv432 APCs for the British army.
AMX-30, AMX-10P, AMX-13 and Shanines
Finally some French with 4 AMX-30s, 24 AMX-10Ps, 6 AMX-13 and 2 Shanine SAM vehicles.

I still have some Challengers, Scimitars etc to paint, but I am in no rush as I already have enough of them for any scenario I will do.

So that's the lot for now, I am off to do something more or less productive. Take care folks and keep playing if you can.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Battlegroup Northag 15mm plans

Following on from my last post, here is a brief rundown of what I have and what I want need to get for Battlegroup Northag in 15mm. My plan is to be able to do a company sized action in this scale, so 750 points per side is the target. That should be more than enough at this size, another larger I will do with the 6mm collection I have.

So, where does my force stand in terms of the points needed. I'll start with the Russians, as I need very little for them. As it is I have over 900 points worth, so don't honestly need anything, but there are a few things I want to get at some point, some BTRs (cheaper infantry option), some BRDM3 tank killers and maybe some 2S1 SPGs for direct support.

The list I have made up so far is
Forward Screen
   Tank Recce Patrol (2xT64A)
   Armoured Car Patrol (2xBRDM2)
   Air Defence Battery (1xZSU-23-4 and 1xSA-9)
   2 Armoured Recce Patrol (Fire team and AT team in BMP-1)
Forward Screen

   Tank Company (10xT-64A)
T-64 Company
Main Force
   Rifle Platoon (3 Fire teams, 3 AT teams, 1 SA-7, 1 AGS-17 in 4 BMP-1)
   Rifle Platoon (3 Fire teams, 3 AT teams, 1 SA-7, 1 PK MG in 4 BMP-1)
Rifle Platoons
   Battlegroup Commander (1 T-64AK)
   Forward Observation Officer (1 FOO team in BTR)
   MP Team (1 Command team in UAZ)
   Tactical Command Centre (1 Command Team in ACRV2/BTR)
   Supply Truck (1 truck)
   82mm mortars in support
No pictures of these yet as I need to get the vehicles
Fire Support
   Deployed Smoke Screen
   2 Timed 122mm Barrages
   Breakthrough Special Tactics
   2 Rolls

That comes in at 750 points with a break point of 63, 4 officers and 4 scouts. Thirteen T-64s should give a decent level of firepower, although the force is a bit lacking in infantry with only 2 full platoons. The plan is to advance, attack and pin the enemy with the T-64s and then use the Rifle platoons to capture any objectives or get off table using the Breakthrough tactic. The reinforcement rolls would hopefully be used for another tank company of T-62s(stood in for by my T-55s) and another Rifle Platoon.

Bear in mind that I have no idea if it is a good force yet as I still haven't played a game, but it seems fairly balanced for a tank heavy force. The only things I do not have are a UAZ jeep, a truck, a BTR and an ACRV2. I could also do with a different looking T-64 for my commander, just to make him stand out and look important.

For the British, I need more stuff! Lots more stuff! I can currently put together a mere 320 points, which is a bit lacking.

The list is below, with what I need to get in italics.
Forward Screen
   Dug in Forward Observation Officer (1 FOO team)
   Dug in Infantry Platoon with 1 added Carl Gustav (7 fire teams and 1 AT team)
   Dug in Blowpipe team (1 team)
   Dug In Chieftain Tank Troop (3 Chieftain Mk9)
   Gazelle Helicopter
Chieftains plus other bits
   Chieftain Tank Troop (3 Chieftain Mk9)
Main Force
   Mech Platoon (4 fire teams, 3 AT teams and 4 Fv432)
1st Mech Platoon
   Mech Platoon (4 fire teams, 3 AT teams and 4 Fv432)
   Battlegroup Commander (command team in Fv432)
   Tactical Command Centre (command team in Sultan/Fv439)
   Electronic Warfare Team (command team in Sultan/Fv439)
   105mm Abbot battery in support
Fire Support
   Off Table SAM Cover
   2 Counter Battery Fire missions
   Timed 105mm Artillery Strike
   Timed Tornado Strike
   1 Roll

Total is 749 points with a 64 break points, 3 officers and 3 scouts. It actually has more infantry platoons than the Soviet list, plus 6 Chieftains. Very little scouting as it is designed as a defensive force. I plan to get what I need for this list first, then add some more options, things like Scorpion/Scimitar light tanks, Recce infantry in Spartans etc to give me a more mobile option. Sadly the Armies Army range is no longer available, being sold to Plastic Soldier Company and then sold again to Scotia Grendel. There is no sign of them on the Scotia website and no reply to my enquiry, so it looks like I will have to go elsewhere. I wonder how Butlers Printed Models vehicles match up size wise. 😟

I will take some pictures when I get the rest ordered, painted(hopefully) and based.

Take care and stay safe.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Life, the Universe and other stuff

I have been remiss in updating my blog for sometime and can only apologise if you missed me. Who am I kidding, nobody reads this tripe. 😑

My wargaming has been somewhat curtailed since I last posted as I have developed cataracts and it has really screwed up my vision. I cannot see to paint anything now without wearing my contact lenses and opti-visor, which then gives me a splitting headache after about 10 minutes of squinting. So no painting. I am also struggling to read things for the same reason, unless I hold the book up to my nose. This on top of my digestive issues has really screwed my head up and I had been down in a dark place for some time. Ah well, it could be worse, there could be a worldwide pandemic and we could be in lockdown. Then I got sick with a "mild case" of the Corona Virus. If what I had was only mild I feel for those who have had it worse, I felt awful for two weeks and wish the best to anybody who has it now. Screw you Covid 19! 😷

So why am I back now you may ask. Two reasons, firstly my wife has beaten my lethargy into submission with a big stick, so I am making a concerted effort to be positive and do more. So here I am. Not able to paint, not really able to do much gaming either for some reason. Why not? Because my loving wife has rediscovered her love of jigsaws and has taken over the table with a never ending stream of the bloody things. Good job I love her. 😉

The other reason is the recent release of the Battlegroup Northag ruleset by Plastic Soldier Company. I have a lot of interest in the what-if scenario of the Cold War gone hot, primarily because I am a child of the 1960's and it was important as we were a forces family. I already have a considerable force of Soviets, British, French and Americans in 1/300 scale, Russians, British, Dutch and Germans in 15mm and Russians and British in 28mm. The rules recommend 10mm, but I am not doing a new scale as I have enough already, so it's 1/300 for bigger games and 15mm for smaller actions.

The rules themselves look very nice and I am looking forward to getting a game in at some point soon. I like the way the forces are organised, with a forward screen on the table and a vanguard force arriving to reinforce the defence/attack. Having perused the two army lists (British and Soviet) in the main rulebook, I have a couple of things I will need to tweak slightly, but nothing major. More lists will be released in a supplement at some point in the future, but for now I have been making up my own for my Dutch and German troops.

My issues with the list both concern the British infantry platoon.

Point one. The Carl Gustav 84mm . You can only have one which seems strange as the platoon had one per squad, and you can't have any if you have a dug in forward screen platoon?!  Also its AT rating drops with range, which is bizarre as it is a HEAT round which are not affected by range/velocity like AP rounds are. So, I will up the AT to 3 at all ranges and allow the platoon to replace 2 rifle teams with CG teams if they wish.

Point two. The Milan sections. The list allows you to add one milan team in a Spartan APC to the platoon, although not to the dug in platoon again. As far as I know and according to all the references I have seen, the Milan Platoon had a HQ section and two detachments of two milan teams carried in three Fv432s. So that is two milan teams in one Fv432. So that is what I will be using for my lists, obviously at an increased cost to the force.

So there you go, I am still here and still annoying everybody around me. Take care folks and stay safe in these troubling times.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Black Powder ACW at Entoyment

It's been a while since I have posted, mainly due to being either very busy or rather ill again. So, here goes again. I have done a bit of gaming, a bit of painting and a bit of struggling not to snap peoples heads off when they annoy me.

Highlight of the gaming came last Sunday when we had a trip to Entoyment in Poole to play a Black Powder ACW game of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Panjo, Nathan, my son Christopher and I all went up and played with several other like-minded lunatics gamers. The sensible ones picked the Confederate side, while the fools went for the blue coats. I was in the middle of the Confederate line, just to the right of the sunken road/stone wall on the heights. Christopher was to my right and Nathan was on the far right with lots of very static cavalry. The far left was ably commanded by Mel while my immediate left was commanded by Lee(not the real one), Mel's husband. There is a better report of the game on their blog, Battlebunker.

Hood's Division stands ready to see off Billy Yank
 I had command of Hood's and Pickett's divisions of Jackson's Corps. Spread thin was the thought that came to mind, I had very very few reserves to support my thin front line.
Early commanded the far right, waiting on Stuarts cavalry
 As more and more Union types crossed the river we all sat and waited for Stuart to spring into action. It turned out to be a long wait as rasping Nathan "Wandering Star" Marvin kept rolling 11's on his command rolls.
Damn Yankees just kept on coming!
 Meanwhile his opposite number had similar issues as he kept moving alternate brigades each turn.

Longstreet's Division goes to sleep in their sunken road.
 Lee(not the real one) commanded loads of troops holding the most defensible position on the table. Sensibly the Union boys stayed as far away from him as they could and all headed for my thin line of grey clad fighting men. It was so quiet on Lee's(not the real one) section that he even told his men to have a nap!
Union troops filtering through Fredericksburg
Facing Mel was Jamie, her son. There is no love lost between those two when it comes to wargames.  He kept on charging and she kept on slapping him back down the hill. Luca faced Lee(not the real one) initially, but quickly moved over to charge Pickett's thin line.

More yanks crossing the river, there are a lot of cavalry over there!
Over on the right Stuart failed to move again and the Yank cavalry streamed over the river and prepared to do some damage. However, once over the river everything seemed to slow down over that side.

That's not gun smoke, it's Longstreet's troops having a cigar break!
 On the left Lee's(not the real one) men had woken up and lit the "fine southern tobacco" cigars provided by General Longstreet. They are not firing, well not going by the lack of damage caused anyway!
Stuart finally moves forward....a bit
  Stuart finally moved forwards, once! The next turn saw yet another blunder by raspy Nathan and the cavalry all moved left to stand in front of their own infantry so they couldn't fire. Something about not letting them get any of the glory I think.
Pickett's Division is holding against ever increasing odds
 Meanwhile Pickett was fighting a valiant defence against ever increasing odds. His position was the weakest of the hill top defenders, with a stone wall to his left and a fence to his right, but no cover for his troops at all. Despite the best efforts of the masses of blue coats he was managing to hold while he waited for Lee(not the real one) to do anything.........
Oh look, there is still nobody attacking Ransom's Division!
 As my troops weathered the storm my left flank was eerily quiet. Except for the sound of coffee being drunk and cigars being lit that is. Nobody there Lee(not the real one), any chance of you passing a command roll today?
Finally Lee(not the General) springs(wanders) into action!
 Shock and horror, Lee(not the real one) moved some troops to support Pickett. To be fair the timing was fortuitous as my unit was forced to fall back the very next turn, but don't believe him if he says he planned it like that. The next turn say a sweeping advance by Lee(not the real one), but it wasn't planned. He rolled a command blunder and his troops decided to charge forwards!

Lucky timing though as it enabled the fresh, well rested, nicotine charged troops to roll up the flanks of the attacks to both sides of them and win the day.

All in all it was a cracking day with great company and a fun scenario. Thanks to Paul and Carl for letting us play with their troops and putting on a great game. More thanks to Pete and Entoyment for hosting us. I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the shop as it is an Aladdin's cave for wargamers! Extra thanks to all the other gamers, even static Lee(not the real one)!  😉 Good to meet you.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Chain of Command 29 Lets Go Campaign

For the last few weeks/moths I have been running the "29 Let's Go" Chain of Command pint sized campaign for some of the Devon Wargames players. Primarily this was to show them the way the game is played at its best, one platoon against one platoon.
Picture stolen from JJ's blog
As I have said previously, the best place to see the battle details is JJ's blog. He has taken many pictures and put up a few reports already. I am now putting up the final result and the details of casualties etc.

In the campaign the Germans get a single platoon for the majority of the actions while the Americans get a new platoon for each game. This gives a big advantage to the American player as they get three squads of twelve men for every game while the German has to husband his resources and try to minimise losses while still stopping the advancing enemy.

The campaign is fought on 5 maps in a ladder sequence. It is possible for the Americans to win in 5 games, put unlikely if the German player is sneaky careful. As it was, this run of the campaign took 9 games as Ian managed to pull a few sneaky wins and one completely flukey one.

Above is the map of the battlefields as they appear on the ground. Maps 1, 2 and 5 are defended by a single platoon of Germans. Luckily maps 2 and 3 are off the advance route and are held by other platoons, so they just serve to delay the advance. 

In the campaign the games went well for the Americans initially. They won game 1 and 2 on maps 1 and 2, then lost game 3 on map 3 and had to refight it in turn 4. Turn 5 on map 4 saw a major back step for the Allies when, despite getting 6 phases on the trot before any Germans were even on the table, they failed to get a chain of command dice and the concentrated German firepower broke their force morale very quickly. The battle was lost for want of a single 5 in 7 phases of play.

That set them back to map 2 on the main road. The original German platoon was well rested by now and called up reinforcements, giving them a full platoon again. They went on to win and consolidated their position. This also caused the American Colonel to waver, requiring a visit for General "Dutch" Cotter to get him moving again. Game 8 and the Germans inflicted a few casualties and then pulled back to maintain their strength. Game 9 was the final round and would decide if it was a major German victory or if the allied advance would continue. As it went on, this final battle was a very cagey affair and it went right down to the wire. Both sides lost many men and force morale fell, reducing chain of command dice until, finally, the Germans broke and the American advance could continue. However, all the Germans except for the defending platoon had escaped and the ongoing fight would be harder for it.

Below is a table detailing the losses after each game. Losses are not all dead, 50% are dead or badly wounded enough that they are counted as dead, 25% are wounded and miss the next game while the final 25% are lightly wounded and are available for the next game.
The different coulours on the German column show the losses for the other platoons. In total German losses were 86 infantry, 2 NCOs and 9 support weapon crew. That works out as 43 dead and 43 wounded. American losses were 103 infantry, 1 Senior NCO, 3 NCOs and 6 Shermans, giving 52 dead GIs with 51 wounded.  All told the losses were fairly equal, except for the 6 Shermans!

It was fun to run the campaign for the lads, especially as  I got to see their tactics and planning change each time they played. I can recommend the pint sized campaigns to any one who like Chain of Command, it makes for a very different game to the usual game as you have to be more careful with your losses. 

That's it for now, I am off on the yearly pilgrimage to Partizan tomorrow so expect news of that next week. Catch you all later.